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Classics of Criminology

Human beings show varied behavior, which includes antisocial and criminal amongst others. A plethora of experts have explored this vital realm; however, this brief write-up covers two critical research articles. The first is “The Criminal and His Victim” by Hans Von Hentig, and the second is “Crime and Human Nature” by Wilson and Hernstein. Both articles are revealing because the authors shed light on numerous aspects of the topic, including the dynamics of crime and the sufferings of victims.

According to Hentig, sociologists look at the social conditions of deviant behavior and crime. The deviant behavior violates social norms; on the contrary, crime infringes upon formal rules and laws prohibiting such conduct. The author has applied various theories of other experts to prove his point and explain the underlying motives of crime; moreover, he has also elaborated the psychology of the victim. A plethora of assertions of Hentig might be verified through the analysis of everyday crime stories published in the media. For example, he has mentioned that mental illness is one of the reasons for criminal behavior. In the USA, many depressed and mentally unfit people resort to mass killings every year. I concur with most of the assertions of the eminent author; moreover, I foresee that crime theory would take more of the psychological factors into consideration. I have formed this opinion because many surveys indicate that stress and depression are on the rise and with the abundant availability of guns in the USA, it might increase crimes. The criminal justice system in many nations is another reason due to its ineffectiveness. Howard Becker’s “labeling theory” says that citizens tend to adopt deviant tendencies due to their interaction with the criminal justice system. To promote harmony, a nation should try plummeting both deviance and crime through social controls and education. The famous German expert, Hentig, exhibited commendable command on the topic and offered significant insights.

Similarly, the second selected reading, “Crime and Human Nature” by Wilson and Hernstein is equally beneficial because of its research value and practical suggestions. The authors have presented an “operant-utilitarian theory of criminality” (Gibbs, 1985). According to this theory, people resort to criminal behaviors due to social organization, environmental stimuli, and factors that influence people to overcome suffering due to their limited resources. It is clear from the scanning of crime news that many crimes occur as criminals face a lack of resources. Travis Hirschi’s “control theory” might play an essential role in this context. The “control theory” explains the significance of communal control, which might offer a practical solution in control of crimes (Little, 2014). I foresee that Wilson and Hernstein’s theory would remain in the limelight for many years because of its strong logic. The write-up shares many similarities with the previously discussed article of Hentig; however, there are many differences. Both articles explore the reasons for crime and mention theories that explain crimes. The difference is relating to the approach to explain deviant behavior. In my opinion, Hentig’s approach is broader-based and he offers better reasons to explain the crimes. Wilson and Hernstein seem better at explaining human nature. The detailed readings of both articles provide a comprehensive understanding of the topic. People tend to adopt criminal behavior for various reasons, including the lack of resources.

A plethora of experts have tried to explain crime and criminal behavior. People demonstrate criminal and antisocial behaviors, including deviance, due to numerous reasons. “The Criminal and His Victim” by HansVon Hentig and “Crime and Human Nature” by Wilson and Hernstein shed light on the topic. Both articles are enlightening as the researchers explore numerous subject characteristics, including the dynamics of crime and sufferings of victims of crimes.


Gibbs, J. P. (1985). Crime and Human Nature by James Q. Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985. Criminology, 23(2), 381–388.

Little, W. (2014, November 6). Chapter 7. Deviance, crime, and social control. In Introduction to sociology – 1st Canadian edition [eBook edition]. Open Textbc.



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